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Man have you guys got it wrong ;-).
1- Willie Dixon. He not only invented Rock 'n' Roll bass playing, he wrote many of it's early songs. Played with Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, and Muddy Waters.
2- James Jamerson. Motown's bassist, and Paul McCartney's model for bass playing. How can you nominate Paul when he took his style from James?!
3- Jerry Scheff. The best bassist I have seen live, playing with T-Bone Burnett. He also played with both Elvis' (Presley and Costello), Dylan, Roy Orbison, Richard Thompson, and hundreds of others.
4- Joey Spampinato. When Bill Wyman left The Stones, Joey was Keith Richards' first choice as replacement. Joey turned him down (!), preferring to stay in the REAL Best Rock 'n' Roll Band in the world, NRBQ.
5- Carol Kaye. Played on recordings of The Beach Boys (think about all those great bass parts), The Doors, Frank Zappa, Ray Charles, Phil Spector, Simon & Garfunkle, and thousands (literally) of others.
Ah, what the heck, additional bassists to the above, regardless of style, that I like are:
John Paul Jones
Phil Lesh (lesh is more)
Hard to argue with anybody's list of "best" since at a certain level, some of it comes down to personal preference/playing style. Some of the folks mentioned (Willie Dixon, Carol Kaye) are legendary.
I've heard some of the others mentioned over the years (including the great Ray Brown back in the day) , but one of the "best" bassists (aside from my buddy Rob Stoner, who is extremely musical) is a guy that remains a mystery; he was backing Little Richard a few years ago. LR said he used to employ two bass players until he found this guy. He wasn't credited, and there was nothing on the web to identify him either. He was playing counterpoint against himself. (Show at BBKings in NYC within the last 5 years). I was with Stoner, who commented that the guy was "a hired killer."
I also love the sound of double bass, compared to electric- more common in the early days of rock 'n roll, before the electric bass became ubiquitous. Caught James Hunter a month or so ago, and his bassist was playing a double bass- I had forgotten how much tone and upper harmonics you get with the real acoustic instrument. Really adds to the drive of the music.
Yup tostado, Brian wrote the notes on paper, but bringing them to life is also part of a bassists job, which Carol did excellently. Plus, I have no doubt she made a few suggestions Brian approved.
Rick Danko was sixth on my list! His playing on a fretless Ampeg and fretted P-Bass was just fantastic. I forgot to mention that Spampinato makes his Danalectro electric sound like a stand-up. Incredible! He has been undergoing treatment for Cancer since late last year.